In the women's bathroom at the YMCA, a conversation ensued between a Y mate and me. She said it was a pretty good place, as cheap hotels go, but she hated spending $50 a night because she is "cheap." Not cheap, I corrected her: "thrifty." There's nothing wrong with being thrifty, I asserted. My mother taught me about thrift. My mother did wondrous things with her small secretary's salary. She lived modestly but well. She told me once she bought everything she wanted, just by waiting for things to go on sale. She was fortunate to have found inexpensive housing that didn't significantly increase over the years. Thus, she was able to save money and live well.
I agreed with my Y mate that I too hate wasting money, wasting resources.
She complimented my jeans. I bought them at WalMart for less than $20. What irritates me is the fact that I can't hang them on a clothesline to dry. Now homeless, moving around, I have no choice but to dry all my clothes in a clothes dryer. The clothes dryer adds another $1 or $1.25 to every washload, but worse than that, it makes my clothes wear out much faster than they would if I let them air dry on a clothesline. I still have jeans I bought in 1992. They're in decent condition because for all those years I never put them in a dryer. Now, I have no backyard clothesline, no kitchen and no bathroom to rig up an indoor clothesline--and no choice but to dry my clothes in a dryer. Which means I have to buy new clothes that much sooner. A waste of money. Like moving around from place to place is a waste of money, not to mention energy.
For every small cup of coffee I buy on the street to feed my caffeine addiction (OK, I admit it; I am a caffeine addict) I think about the bag of freshly ground Columbian coffee beans that costs $3.49 at super WalMart and brews a two week supply of coffee. Waste. Instead of washing a mug and reusing it, buying coffee in the street, or in restaurants puts more styrofoam and more plastic into landfills. More waste.
"It's expensive to be poor," a lawyer said to me.
For a guy who is far from poor, who will probably never be poor, and--not sure about this-- maybe never has been poor, the lawyer had it right when he said it's expensive to be poor. It's even more expensive to be poor and homeless without a clothesline.